So, the main thing I’m lacking in my life right now is balance. I’m juggling a ton of school work, taking care of an apartment, maintaining a loving relationship, training for some races/trying to stay in shape, and trying to find some time to make friends and keep the awesome friends I already have. Needless to say, I’ve got to be pretty organized.
I was always organized in high school and college. I had a planner that I couldn’t live without, and I couldn’t operate without a to-do list permanently stuck in my brain. Now that I’m not just focusing on schoolwork, I’ve had to rely on several different ways to stay organized.
Google Calendar: I pretty much live by my Google Calendar these days. This is how I schedule meeting with my project groups, keep track of my class schedule, and remind myself of my deadlines. I love that I can assign different colors to meetings so that at least if I’m busy, the calendar looks pretty. I also love that I can create entire calendars and I can choose which ones I want to view at any particular time. For example, I’ve got a calendar that I put all of my personal appointments on, i.e. classes, Skype dates, meetings, and lectures that I want to attend. I also have a calendar devoted solely to my training calendar. This way, I can see my workout for the day and move it around to see how it fits into my day. I also love being able to view my calendar on my smartphone. Little known fact: you can set Google Calendar to email you a copy of your daily agenda! Mine usually arrives around 4:50 AM, which gives me time to look over it in the morning and make sure I’m prepared for the day.
Lists: Well, taking a tour around my apartment, I’ve got lists everywhere. I make to-do lists for projects, tasks, ideas on things to do when friends come to town, supplies we need for the apartment … pretty much everything. The only issue I have with lists – I lose them all the time. It’s ridiculous. I need to find a better system or a centralized place to put all of my lists. If you have any suggestions on this, let me know!
Blank Calendar: I’ve gotten a little OCD coming in to grad school, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In one of my binders, I’ve got a blank calendar for the entire month. This is where I can visualize the month, visits, when bills are due, or big meetings that I have. Where I like the Google Calendar for daily agendas, I like to have the monthly calendar so that I can see what the entire month looks like. I also love crossing off the days. It gives me a little bit of joy knowing that another day has passed successfully.
Action List: After coming to graduate school, I learned the method of the Action List. This is not a method I had ever imagined or ever really thought that I would use. One of my project groups created an Action List that contains small tasks to be completed, start dates, end dates, project status, and deadlines. It worked well for our group so I decided to institute a more personal action list. I’ve created the document on Google Drive so that I can have access to it at all times. This allows me to organize tasks by due date and urgency. It also lets me see all of the tasks that I’ve already completed, which is important for me. I like to know how far I’ve come.
What tools do you use to stay organized?